Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Announce Summer 2021 Program

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops today announced plans for the summer of 2021 marking the return of two popular annual traditions after they were canceled last year due to the coronavirus. John Morris Russell and the Cincinnati Pops will return to Riverbend Music Center on July 4th. And on August 20, Classical Roots will celebrate its 20th anniversary with performances in three of the orchestra’s partner churches and a crowning concert for everyone in the Music Hall. With the CDC and Ohio’s masking and spacing regulations now relaxed, the entire line-up of orchestral musicians will be able to perform together on stage together for the first time since the last Pops concert celebrating King Records and the Cincinnati Sound in March 2020, both Riverbend and Music halls were also reinstated.

The Cincinnati Pops will also be part of the Crown jewels of jazz Summer series on the meadow of St. Aloysius in August, details to be announced. Additionally, CSO In Your Neighborhood returns with members of the orchestra showing up in unexpected locations for casual concerts across town. Times, dates and places are shared on social media. And as previously announced, the orchestra will also perform in Summit Park as part of the Cincinnati Opera summer season.

July 4, 2021 at 8 p.m.

Riverbend music center

John Morris Russell, conductor

Annie Moses tape

Chris Kenney, singer

A summer tradition returns to Riverbend Music Center on July 4th when the Cincinnati Pops Red, White & BOOM! present, a concert that celebrates Independence Day and great American music. John Morris Russell leads the family-friendly performance with bluegrass sensations from the Annie Moses Band and opera star Chris Kenney. Another Cincinnati tradition follows the concert: Rozzi’s famous fireworks display. The Pops series is presented by PNC and children 17 and under are free on the lawn.

“We’re ALL excited to return to the concert stage with Pops at Riverbend, performing musical traditions loved by everyone from the ocean to the shining seas. From jazz to bluegrass, Broadway to Hollywood and beloved patriotic favorites, we will be our front-line heroes and servicemen as well as our nation’s 245th anniversary in full orchestral glory, “said Russell.

Tickets: $ 15 and up (in advance); $ 5 for active and retired service members

FREE entry to the lawn for children up to 17 years of age (tickets will be issued at the gate)

For details or to purchase, visit:

Riverbend follows all Ohio and CDC COVID safety guidelines. Fully vaccinated guests do not need to wear masks.

July 2021

Summit Park in Blue Ash

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is the official orchestra of the Cincinnati Opera. More information at

August 2021

John Morris Russell, conductor

Details will be announced.

August 20, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.

Music hall

John Morris Russell, conductor

Founded in 2001 as a partnership with local churches to celebrate African American musical traditions, Classical Roots is celebrating its 20th anniversary by returning to its roots. On August 20th, John Morris Russell will conduct a special concert at the Music Hall with the full orchestra performing music by some of the most important African-American composers, past and present. CSO members will also perform in three Classical Roots partner churches: Zion Baptist Church, Lincoln Heights Missionary Baptist Church and Quinn Chapel AME, with dates and ticket information to be announced.

“I could never have imagined the deep musical and spiritual impact Classical Roots had on our church and orchestra when I conducted our first concert twenty years ago,” said John Morris Russell. This voyage of discovery and celebration has taken us from the shrines of the neighborhood churches to sold-out houses in the Music Hall and will further diversify and enliven the ethos of our orchestral family. This summer we visit many of the most impactful, delightful, and glorious works that we have performed together, both in the communities where we first performed and with our entire orchestra in the Music Hall. I could not be more honored, humble and enthusiastic to lead these concerts again and to get in touch again with the most passionate music lovers in our region.

Classical Roots 2021 is partially supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets: $ 14 and up. For details or to purchase, visit:

Music Hall follows all Ohio and CDC COVID safety guidelines. Fully vaccinated guests do not need to wear masks.

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